Twenty years ago, the only way to repair a hernia was open surgery. The large incision required a long hospital stay and significant down time. Hernia patients would put off surgery because they were worried about pain and lengthy recovery times. These delays lead to dangerous complications and emergency surgeries. Today, our facility offers robotic surgery for most hernia repairs, an outpatient process with little down time. Unlike your grandparents, there’s no need to wait or suffer.
With robotic hernia surgery, surgeons use robotic instruments to perform precision surgery, often with just one small incision. Depending on your hernia location and overall health, robotic surgery is a good option. It reduces blood loss, lowers pain, and features minimal recovery time and scarring.
The robotic system, which is controlled by a surgeon at all times, uses tiny instruments and 3-D cameras to repair the affected area. Your incision, often less than the width of your fingertip, is the only outward sign of surgery that you’ll see. Because the process doesn’t require large or multiple incisions, many patients experience significantly less pain after surgery and can often recover over a long weekend.
Let’s look at the recovery timeline:
Days 1 – 3
Most patients return home the same day as surgery
Patients are advised to take things easy, but are able to perform basic daily functions, like walking around the house, going to the store, or eating meals with family.
Patients are advised to take 3 days off from work as they may experience slight to moderate pain, controllable with prescribed or over-the-counter pain medicine.
Days 4 – 7
Most patients are able to return to work by day 4, and can resume light activities and office work Patients are cautioned not to lift more than 10-20 pounds, which protects the hernia repair. Stretching, walking and other slow-paced exercise is allowed. Patients experiencing mild pain can take over-the-counter medicine.
Patients should continue to limit lifting anything over 20 pounds, but may resume activities like jogging, biking, yoga, Pilates, or leisurely tennis.
Exercise activity can be increased to running, cycling, swimming, surfing, golf, and even light weights at the gym (less than 20 pounds).
Patients are fully recovered without lifting limitations
Robotic surgery is used to treat all types of hernias, including inguinal and femoral (inner and outer groin), umbilical, hiatal (upper stomach) and previous surgery sites. There’s no need to put off hernia repair any longer, after all, robotic hernia repair is not your grandparent’s surgery experience.